The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) has established a policy requiring all campus construction be built to the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED® Silver standard as part of AASHE’s support of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. The Presidents Climate Commitment is an effort to make campuses more sustainable and address global climate change. The agenda is modeled after the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

The LEED Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted standard for green building design, construction, and operations, and has been adopted by 11 Federal government agencies, dozens of state and local governments, and private developers all over the U.S. LEED is a voluntary building certification program that defines high-performance green buildings, which are more environmentally responsible, healthier, and more profitable structures.

“Research shows significant benefits for building high-performance green schools and campuses,” commented Rick Fedrizzi, President and CEO of USGBC. “Not only are green schools and campuses good for the environment, they are also good for the students and faculty who inhabit the building. It is a momentous step for America’s higher education community, a $300 billion industry, to recognize its impact on the environment, and make a public commitment to addressing climate change.”

Organizers of the Commitment say that they are seeking to commit at least 200 presidents and chancellors by June 2007 and over 1,000 by December 2009. Presidents and chancellors signing the Commitment are pledging to eliminate their campuses’ greenhouse gas emissions over time. The Presidents Climate Commitment is being coordinated and supported by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), Second Nature, and ecoAmerica, working closely with the Leadership Circle of presidents and chancellors.